When parents of minors in New York establish estate plans, they would likely need advice about appropriate ways to provide for their children in the event of both parents’ deaths. This is typically done by naming guardians or conservators in their wills. If a child inherits real estate, he or she will not be able to take legal ownership of it, and a legal guardian can be named in the will, or appointed by the court.
The primary role of a guardian — also called a conservator — will be to manage and invest the minor’s inherited assets. Paying property taxes, insurance, mortgage payments and maintenance expenses on real estate will form part of the guardian’s responsibilities. Furthermore, through funds raised from the inherited assets, the conservator will have to pay for the minor’s education, health and maintenance. When the child is older, the guardian will have to arrange payment for a car, a computer, college fees and other more costly items.
The burden of the preparation and filing of annual income tax returns will likely also be on the shoulders of the conservator. He or she will then have to pay any due taxes, even if the assets involve only interest earned on investments. A court-appointed guardian might need court-approval for spending the funds, and he or she will likely have to file an annual report that shows the management of the minor’s assets.
New York parents might have questions about the process of appointing guardians or conservators in their wills. Estate planning could seem a daunting task, but the process can be simplified with the support and guidance of an experienced attorney. A lawyer can base his or her advocacy on the unique circumstances of the client, and establish estate plans that include proper care and conservatorship for minor children.